Rising disposable incomes in developed countries has fueled utility vehicles expansion over the past decade, along with a surge in military spending and development of more efficient vehicle technologies. Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) are gradually replacing conventional alternatives like light trucks and small tractors for pulling or carrying heavy load and transporting people. Regular occurrence of racing events and increasing penchant for recreational activities have maintained a reliable consumer base for the UTV industry in countries like Canada, U.S. and Australia.
Generally, deployment of UTVs is accompanied by strict regulations pertaining to the safety of users and environmental concerns. These vehicles are used not only by businesses, the military and other government agencies, but also by personal consumers who buy or rent UTVs for ranches, or for camping and other outdoor trips. Undoubtedly, utility vehicles market has attained considerable popularity across a host of application segments.
Described below are some prominent trends which will drive utility vehicles industry over the next few years:
- Benefits of UTV in agriculture: Farming usually involves the use of various tools and equipment, fertilizers and pesticides, seeds and labor. Transporting tools, materials and people to and from different areas of a farm becomes easier with an UTV, which also helps to save fuel as compared to utilizing a small truck. Various equipment such as disc harrows, aerators and cultipackers are available that can be attached to UTVs for digging the earth and other functions.
Agriculture can certainly be considered as a necessary occupation, due to the rapidly growing population worldwide, that represents a tremendous demand for crops in the imminent future. As such, the utility terrain vehicles market can be expected to garner substantial revenues from utility applications in the agricultural sector.
Recently, Caterpillar launched two new UTVs, one gas-powered and the other diesel-powered, having up to 2,000 pounds of towing capacity each. Separately, in May 2019 Bobcat Company also unveiled two UTVs developed keeping farmer lifestyle in mind, having stronger chassis, better suspension and higher towing capacities.
- UTV over Pickup in construction: Apparently, UTVs are gaining considerable traction among construction contractors, particularly due to more powerful products being offered to customers than ever before. Utility vehicles industry is poised to experience augmented demand from private construction sites, as these vehicles are used to perform functions commonly undertaken using pickup trucks, owing to UTV characteristics like higher ground clearance and heavy payload capacity.
UTVs often have a more robust body, making them safer and more rugged as compared to pickups, in addition to being more fuel-efficient.
Reportedly, the total construction spending in the U.S. in 2018 was about US$1.3 trillion, including both private and public construction. As evident, the sector is indicative of the immense prospects existing for utility vehicles market over the forecast period, as residential and commercial property development steadily increases globally.
- Developing advanced UTV parts: Similar to any other four-wheeled vehicles, performance of UTVs also depends on strong parts and innovative components. Tires are one such auto part which significantly influence the reliability of UTV, as the ability to carry loads and traverse harsh terrains is dependent on tire type.
Manufacturers seem to be continuously advancing materials and technology to provide new and high-performance tires across a broad application scope, while many tire producers are looking tap into the growing utility vehicles industry with new products.
Citing an instance, Nitto Tire recently introduced its first product for UTVs, aimed at delivering extreme performance and reliability for powersports events. On the other hand, leading tire manufacturer Michelin had announced it is developing a Tweel, or an airless tire, for UTVs which would eliminate possibility of tire bursts and the need to carry spare tires, simultaneously improving performance.
- Moving towards all-electric UTVs: With tremendous advancements in electric vehicle technology, encompassing the passenger, commercial as well as industrial segments, increasing number of companies have begun developing UTVs that run more and more on electric components. With established players such as Polaris and Hisun already boasting well-known electric UTV products, the trend is anticipated to transform global utility vehicles market remarkably.
Elaborating on the capabilities of existing products, the Polaris Ranger EV is an electric UTV that offers a range of 45 miles, which a quite sufficient for activities like farming, construction and other utility applications. It also has a towing capacity of nearly 1,500 pounds, rivaling those of gas and diesel-based counterparts. On similar terms, Hisun’s Sector 1 also provides a 45-mile trip on a single charge and houses a 27 hp electric drive train.
In a nutshell, global utility vehicles industry dynamics has been underscored by various advantages of UTVs and the availability of numerous products offered by key manufacturers like Yamaha, Caterpillar, Polaris, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and Bombardier, among others. Reports estimate that utility terrain vehicles market will surpass revenues of over US$9 billion by 2025.